There’s a small hint of fall in the air now. It’s very subtle. The light is changing, the days are growing shorter, and there’s a breath of coolness in the early morning air. A sign of changing seasons and returning birds!
As our Black-necked Stilts and Least Bitterns start making their way south for the winter, it’s nice to say hello to returning friends! The Belted Kingfishers are one of our earliest winter birds to come back to Lake Apopka. I’ve seen kingfishers as early as mid-July, although this year, I didn’t see my first bird till early September.
“Chip! Chip!” My heart did a happy dance when I heard the familiar call of a warbler. The Yellow Warblers have been moving through Florida for the past few weeks, and I spotted several diving for bugs. They were all over the drive – at the Lust gate entrance, down by the lake, and in the trees and bushes as I drove along.
This baby Common Gallinule reminded me that the summer breeding season is still going. Common Gallinules lay several clutches of eggs throughout the season. That way we get baby “aliens” all summer long!
The little Common Yellowthroats are technically year-round birds in Central Florida, but they are often easier to find in the cooler months. This little female chipped until I finally spotted her deep in the vegetation.
The Least Bitterns haven’t left yet and I miss them already! Watching my little family grow up this summer was so special. This adult posed out in the open as three cameras poked out the windows of the van in front of me. The bittern grabbed a fish to charm the cameras.
My last photo of the morning was this Red-shouldered Hawk, perched up in the top of a tree. He said that no matter how many hints of fall I was seeing that morning, it was still hot out. Very hot. He asked me if I could find some birdie air-conditioning for him!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?
Check out my Lake Apopka page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!